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Lincoln Riley believes Tennessee case vs. NCAA impacts NIL use: ‘You put personal feelings aside’

Screen Shot 2024-05-28 at 9.09.17 AMby:Kaiden Smith04/14/24


USC head coach Lincoln Riley | Spring Ball Day 11

It’s no secret that NIL plays a major impact in recruiting now in college sports, especially in the highest level of college football.

But the NCAA opening up an investigation into Tennessee’s football program for potential recruiting violations regarding their NIL collective changed the game. Which was followed by attorney generals from Tennessee and Virginia filing a lawsuit against the NCAA.

USC head coach Lincoln Riley was recently asked about the use of NIL with recruiting, and if the Tennessee investigation and case has had any impact on things operating in Los Angeles for the Trojans.

“Yeah, it does,” Riley said. “You put personal feelings aside and you adapt to the rules that they put in front of you and use every advantage that you can within what they say you can do.”

There’s no question that there are plenty of opinions across college football regarding NIL and its practices. But Tennessee’s preliminary injunction that came out of their lawsuit against the NCAA has set the precedent, essentially making it official that the NCAA has no jurisdiction over NIL in regards to recruitment from high school or transfer portal student-athletes.

“And so yeah, we’ve certainly looked at it, we’ve had a lot of great conversations with our collectives about it. And if that becomes kind of totally deregulated, like it essential is right now, then certainly we want to use that to our advantage,” Riley explained. “It’s prompted a lot of great discussions because we want to continue to get kids out here.”

“Them and their families, we want them to be able to experience this place because when people — this place is tough to describe man. It’s like you can tell people on phone calls, or zoom calls, or in person all you want but until they see it man, it’s hard to really articulate all that comes with the opportunity to come to USC.”

USC finds itself in a unique position regarding NIL, in the middle of one of the two largest markets in the entire country with a plethora of resources for student-athletes. An advantage that Riley and the Trojans will likely keep exploiting as much as they possibly can for as long as the NCAA lets them. As nationwide NIL regulation continues to be an idea that fails to become a reality in collegiate athletics.

“So it’s been great conversation so far and if that continues to be something we’re able to do it’s something we’re going to take advantage of,” Riley concluded.